Limo driver takes work comp system for a ride, now owes BWC $80,000

robert-willie-jr-booking-photoA former school bus driver caught working as a limousine driver while receiving injured workers’ benefits must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation $80,000 and serve five years probation.

“Thanks to responsible citizens who report fraud, we were able to stop a workers’ comp cheat and return BWC dollars to their rightful purpose — creating safer workplaces across Ohio and helping workers who are legitimately injured on the job,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison.

Robert Willie, Jr., 57, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to one count of workers’ compensation fraud, a fifth-degree felony. In addition to restitution and probation, a judge warned Willie that he would serve six months in jail if he violated the terms of his probation.

Willie started collecting BWC benefits in 2010 after getting injured while working as a school bus driver. Acting on an anonymous tip to the BWC Fraud Hotline, BWC’s Special Investigations Department reviewed bank and employment records and found Willie had worked off and on for much of the time between March 2010 and May 2015, all while collecting BWC benefits. Willie worked as a limousine driver and office clerk for a Columbus company.

A photo of Willie can be found here.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

Lapsed coverage leads to court convictions for two Ohio employers

A southern Ohio body shop owner must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) nearly $6,000 for not carrying workers’ compensation coverage while running his business.

Ironton resident Roland Samons, owner of the Shafer Brothers Body Shop, pleaded guilty Jan. 18 to one count of attempted workers’ compensation fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor. A Lawrence County judge sentenced Samons to six months in jail before suspending the sentence and placing Samons on three years probation. Probation will terminate sooner once Samons pays BWC $5,686 in restitution.

BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) determined Samons failed to carry proper coverage from January 2010 through December 2014.

In another recent court case, the owner of a cleaning service company in northeast Ohio must pay BWC nearly $4,000 to bring her BWC policy into compliance after pleading guilty Jan. 12 to a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply.

A Warren Municipal Court judge also sentenced Andrea Menendez, who with her husband owns Spring Clean Maids, to three years probation. At sentencing, Menendez provided documentation showing she had already paid $1,000 toward her BWC debt of $3,884.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.